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US pair expected to turn 'favorites' into real gold medalists
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Phil Dalhausser and Todd Rogers of the United States, widely believed to be gold favorites, are expected to win another beach volleyball title for their country - in the men's section - on Friday.

Their female compatriots Misty May-Treanor and Kerri Walsh won over China's Tian Jia and Wang Jie to claim the title on Thursday.

Dalhausser and Rogers may have found it good news that Marcio Araujo and Fabio Luiz Magalhaes of Brazil defeated their fellow Brazilians Emanuel Rego and Ricardo Santos, the defending champions, in the semifinal at the Beijing Olympics on Wednesday.

Dalhausser has said that Rego and Santos, not Rogers and he, were real favorites for the gold medals. Now without the defending champions in the final, the 2007 world champions may feel much more confident in winning the gold medal match.

The efficiency of the two Americans at the net, especially the 2.06-meter Dalhausser, and their sophisticated defense have proved to be problems for almost all men's teams in the world.

Dalhausser was FIVB World Tour best blocker in 2006 and 2007 and best hitter in 2007 while his partner Rogers was best FIVB World Tour defensive player in 2006 and 2007.

With a 21-match winning streak this year, the U.S. duo entered the Beijing Olympics. They are also placed first on the Olympic qualification ranking.

The U.S. duo experienced setbacks in the preliminary round and round of 16 match as they sometimes had to come from behind to win a match but as the matches went on, the Americans have also been playing more solid.

They needed to play three sets to eliminate Martin Laciga and Jan Schnider of Switzerland but in the quarterfinal, they edged out powerful German duo David Klemperer and Eric Koreng in straight sets.

The fourth-seeded Araujo and Magalhaes, who thrashed the defending champions, are sure to cause big problems for the Americans in the final but the U.S. team are expected to make it through.

(Xinhua News Agency August 21, 2008)

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